During the 2015 South African Junior Closed Chess Championship I had the first hand experience of seeing what went into getting the tournament ready in the hall as well as after the tournament rounds. We caught up with Judy Marie Steenkamp to get her insights and experience from the tournament. The tournament was yet another milestone for Tswane Chess which has been very busy with chess tournaments in the first quarter of 2015.
As a chess player one does not always appreciate the running around involved in making chess tournaments a reality. SAJCCC brought together the cream of the crop in terms of South Africa’s top junior chess talent.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: Judy-Marie, Congratulations to you and your team for hosting a very successful South Africa Junior Closed Chess Champion (SAJCCC) at Hoerskool Waterskool. How did you pull this off?
Judy-Marie Steenkamp: Thank you. It was hard work and a great team!
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: What were your overall impressions of the tournament?
At the end it was successful, all the media coverage was a first for me. I think it is great that we received so much media coverage. I was also very impressed with the effort Jessy February put in to help players to play in the SAJCCC, these are the things that talks to me, all the kindness and support. I also enjoyed working with Ronald King as an Arbiter, he is great and very fair. I was also impressed with the Live games commentary, the amount of parents who attended it.
We had front page article in the Pretoria News, 3page picture in the Beeld, radio interview on 702, and 2 on RSG as well as an interview with Enuus.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: In terms of how the tournament, what worked and what didn’t.
Judy-Marie: It was a big downside that we had to move to the other hall (for the games). It was great to be able to allow the parents to be in the hall. I also thought that the live commentary was great, it was well attended.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: Of all the performances which ones impressed you most and why?
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: What were the greatest challenges you faced in this tournament and how did you overcome them.
Judy Marie: The greatest challenges was the separate hall and the fact that we had to move. The building was also a big challenge as no one was aware that there would be building going on but the builder tried his best to accommodate us by working throughout the night! I had Kosie Pienaar to thank as he negotiated with the builder. We thought that a separate hall would be great for the Top boards but at the end it had a lot of challenges what we never thought about for example: You had now 2 arbiters per section which meant you also had 2 sets of results.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: What stood out for you most from this tournament?
It was great to work with Caren Cruywagen and Anne Huisamen. It is the first time I worked with Anne and I must say she really put so much effort in and she just went on.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: Thank you very much for the DGT boards. These enabled people from anywhere in the world in the tournament to follow the action on the top boards, as long as they had internet access. How did you get these DGT boards? Very impressive indeed!
Judy-Marie: Thank you, it is great to have them but as all electronic devices they need to be looked after very well. They damage easily and are heavy on batteries. The old Mid-Gauteng bought the first five boards with the profit made on the SAJCC 2010, thereafter we bought the remaining boards with funds received from Lotto in 2013/2014.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: Any parting thoughts you would like to share from this tournament?
Judy-Marie: The Chess community become your friends and family, it is great to see them at tournaments. I think we pulled of a successful tournament despite the venue change. We received a lot of compliments for the hostel although there was problem with the electricity. As the end it is the children that must enjoy it, as it is still a game that needs to be enjoyed.
Bruce Tendai Mubayiwa: What can we expect from Hoerskool Waterkloof in the near future? Any plans you would like to share with us.
Judy-Marie: As you have seen HS Waterkloof puts a lot of resources into chess. This also helps attracting the Top players. We are in the process of building a better classroom for chess as we outgrown our current classroom. We are also planning a Top Schools Chess Tournament for 4-7 October 2015. We also have 4 teams that we hope will qualify for the SA National Schools team Championships that will take place in December 2015.